Past Comments

January Issue 2004
by Tom Starland

Another Notch In Our Belt

Although this will begin our 8th volume of Carolina Arts, we are beginning our 17th year of publishing an arts newspaper. I feel like celebrating, but I guess we should wait until we reach that 20th anniversary date. Come July 2007 - look out!

It's been a year of ups and downs, but I'm really looking forward to 2004. I'm hoping for good things ahead and if they don't come, at least we get the chance to lay the seeds for change. Vote soon and vote often. If the 2000 election taught us anything - a few votes do count - so use yours instead of sitting on the sidelines and being sorry later.

Being Kept Out Of The Loop

Some would think that being the editor of an arts newspaper would make me the most in-the-know person in the Carolina art community, but sometimes I'm the last to know - deliberately. Don't get me wrong - I know more than most, I know some things others will never know, I know where some symbolic bodies are buried, and I know that when I'm the last to hear about something - there's usually a story worth uncovering. Of course sometimes I don't hear things just because some people in charge of publicizing some events are just incompetent. Sometimes they are unpaid volunteers and other times highly paid staff members. Neither one has an excuse for doing their job poorly. And, when someone doesn't inform us about a visual art event, especially an exhibition taking place in the Carolinas - there's something wrong - especially when it is being done with taxpayer monies. After all, we're the only visual arts publication in the Carolinas - so explain to me why someone wouldn't want to let us know about an event so we can turn that news over to our readers. I can't figure it out.

Now, you know I'm leading up to something, but you have to give me a second to set it all up.

Now, you know I've expressed concerns about how the City of Charleston's new City Gallery at Waterfront Park is being managed. I'm not the only one, but after recent events I'm really concerned. There is currently an exhibit on view there - I've read in newspapers that it's called Thresholds: Expressions of Art and Spiritual Life. I've read in newspapers that it features 100 works of art created by 54 contemporary artists from SC, NC, FL, KY, and TN. I've also read in newspapers that the exhibit is being sponsored by the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, the Kentucky Arts Council, the NC Arts Council, the Tennessee Arts Commission and the SC Arts Commission, with additional support from the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and the SC Arts Foundation (I think it's a slush fund for the SC Arts Commission - same address, same phone).

Man, this sounds like a pretty big deal. I imagine it took a lot of planning and taxpayer funding. I just wonder why I never received a press release about it although obviously other newspapers did - at least they seemed to be pretty informed about it - they even had photographs of installed works.

I can't say I didn't know anything about this exhibit. Earlier in the year I was asked what I knew about it - at the time I had never heard of it - although Charleston is in my backyard. I was told the SC Arts Commission was heading it up. So guess what I did? Contrary to my nature when it comes to the Arts Commission - I sent an e-mail to Harriett Green, the Commission's visual art director. Her reply confirmed that they were involved and that she would let me know all about it when plans were firmed up. So I waited.

I guess she just forgot to inform me. Green is off the hook since the Commission "released" their PR director, but what about the folks at the Office of Cultural Affairs? To date we have never received a press release about an exhibit taking place at the new Waterfront Gallery! How come? Who's managing it?


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Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc.
Copyright© 2004 by PSMG, Inc., which published Charleston Arts from July 1987 - Dec. 1994 and South Carolina Arts from Jan. 1995 - Dec. 1996. It also publishes Carolina Arts Online, Copyright© 2004 by PSMG, Inc. All rights reserved by PSMG, Inc. or by the authors of articles. Reproduction or use without written permission is strictly prohibited. Carolina Arts is available throughout North & South Carolina.